Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hopping The Firearm

I'll be straight--I like to keep the Christmasness to a minimum until the turkey carcass is cold.

However, when it comes to Christmas candy, I can't help myself.

And my all time favorite Christmas candy has got to be Mint M&Ms.

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They've started making them bigger than normal M&Ms which I don't really like--but Dr. Mad Scientist informs me he saw "regular" sized Mint M&Ms at the store recently. Not that size really matters too much though.

Not wanting to be a Porcine Princess and wolf this whole bag down myself, I decided I would make cookies with them.

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FREAKIN' YUM!

The recipe?

Take your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Add say 1/3 to 2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the dough. Substitute the M&Ms for the chocolate chips.

Easy peasy.

I love this time of year--the baking season is upon us in full force!

I will say one thing (that I know I've said before on here) that saddens me. That thing is people afraid of baking.

I'm not immune, my white whale is pie crust. I can never to get it to roll out right.

But I'm going to try it again this Thanksgiving. I have plans to make a sugar-free apple pie for Grandma Mad Scientist.

I'm going to incense a few people by saying this--but I can't stand some of the people out there who insist that baking is a science and make it sound oh-so complicated.

One person who springs to mind is Alton Brown. While yes, I find his show entertaining, I think he inadvertently puts the "scare" factor into baking with his explanations.

I find in my surfing around the internets that there are many people out there that echo this sentiment--people that will talk about how you can't bake properly if you don't bring the butter and eggs to room temperature first, or you can't dump all the dry ingredients in all at once if the recipe says to alternate adding and mixing, or you have to have a clear measuring cup for liquid ingredients, and you must follow the recipe.

Dr. Mad Scientist is like this--maybe it's his science training--but he follows recipes to a tee.

And that's fine and if it works for you great. But it worries me for those Baking Virgins or Baking Novices.

The people too scared to get out there because they're afraid they can't bake because they don't have a sifter or oh my god, they accidentally packed the flour down when they measured it!!! Or Jesus Haploid Christ, I think I used 2% milk instead of whole milk!

1988 is making a comeback people, Nike-style: Just Do It.

Let go of the fear that your yeast won't rise and your bread will be a bust.

Let go of the uneasiness that your cookies will be undercooked.

Let go of the angst that your apple pie crust will not roll out properly.

Let go of the consternation that your cupcakes will be neither cup nor cake-like.

And let go of the phobia that you're going to fail.

Because guess what, you will. God knows I have.

Remember pumpkin cheesecake cat vomit cups from a month ago?

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Yick.

These chocolate covered cherry cookies from last Christmas?

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Waaaay to spread-y.

And see this lovely from three years ago?

cranberry upside down

Cranberry Upside Down Cake.

Totally raw in the middle.

Blech.

It's OK. Let it go.

Tomorrow I'll do a scheduled post on my invaluable tools of the trade. Another subject that I think makes people scared of baking--the tools involved.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Crafty Christina said...

If baking had to be a science I'd never do it. I love just throwing stuff together and hoping for the best. Also, being flexible and laughing at the mistakes is fun too. Like when I made carrot cake balls out of the big mess of my carrot cake. LOL

Oh, and I've never had mint M&Ms. Sounds like I'm missing something good.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Trillian42 said...

I think the key is hitting a balance - you can't just completely ignore the basic rules of science involved with baking, or you'll NEVER get anything edible. The key (to me) is learning WHY things work before playing with alternate methods.

And you know I adore AB, and I love the geeky explanations and such on his show, but I freely admit that when I bake (and I have bread in the oven right now) I don't adhere to all of the OMGRULES. But I did when I started.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Those cookies look sooo good right now! I've had some good times and bad times with baking...some of my flubs I read the recipe wrong, or in the case of my mini cheesecakes, um..lowfat cream cheese didn't work...in fact, they looked a bit like your pumpkin thingys ;)

9:56 PM  
Blogger Ellie said...

Amen to everything. Amen to the science being unintentionally scary, to the annoyingness of people that insist on certain temperatures, methods, or measuring cups. And definitely amen to the mint M&Ms.

Respect the bird, people, and honour it by doing some crazy baking!

10:18 PM  
Blogger DPUTiger said...

Mint M&Ms are my favorites too. YUM! I love baking, but I rarely make time to do it. thanks for reminding me I need to spend a couple hours in my kitchen!

10:39 PM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

I have found the pie shell...no THE pie shell that you must try.

It worked smashingly for me for the two pumpkin/yam pies I made today for an early Turkey Day we just finished up:

http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/11/pie-crust-102-all-butter-really-flaky-pie-dough/

All butter, make it the night/week before...and pinto beans as the weights...cuz they were old.

Until I find another, this will now be my go-to pie shell. I figure I'll just leave out the sugar for non-desert baking.

(And bringing back the 80's? My Word Verification? sting, baybee.)

Now to go ease my burnt hand...baking CAN be a wee bit dangerous...

12:58 AM  
Blogger SiressYorkie said...

I'm jealous about those Mint M&Ms...I've never seen those before! YUM! LOVE mint choc cookies.

The things I've set on fire, melted, burned, warped, ruined, etc in my kitchen...gah. I'd say I could use a dose of fear because clearly I have none in the kitchen.

But I agree: it's baking season! We're supposed to do a cookie exchange at hubby's office Christmas party, and I already asked if I could bring my boob and willie cookies...*snrk*

2:02 AM  
Blogger T. Budnik said...

Joy the Baker has a no-roll pie crust recipe on her blog...just saying.

And, I read somewhere that Martha Stewart knows she's better than Rachel Ray because Rachel Ray admits to not baking. Booyah!

-T.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Yeah So said...

Mint m&ms? Who knew??? How on earth did I miss that?

So with you on the baking thing. If you look at the comments on all the baking recipes on allrecipes.com, you'll see all the crazy substitutions people make that totally work. I agree - just go for it!

7:51 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

mmm..I might have to try mint M&Ms. Never had them.
I totally agree about people all scared. I had a cake that fell apart (chocolate) and I just layered it in a trifle bowl with pudding and whipped cream.
Seriously, just add enough good stuff to a disaster and no one will notice. Isn't that the whole idea behind makeup?

9:26 AM  
Blogger weezalana said...

I've tried to watch Alton Brown, but the every-other-word-is-"uh" was driving. me. INSANE.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I like your attitude. No one ever got anywhere by not trying. So a batch may be bad every now and again. I just chalk it up to a learning experience and move on.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

In a chemicals lab, order of operations can be very important. In the kitchen, not so much. As for the pie crust, I have heard a couple of things. One is that regular store bought butter is 20% water and that can affect how your dough comes out. which is why some people swear by crisco or shortening instead. Also, temperature is, apparently, important. For pie crust. mind you , I've never made a pie crust so I could be blowing smoke here...

6:14 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

Those mint babies are the best evah

8:31 AM  

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